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  • Paul Backman

Approaches to clinical healing and reproductive justice (CHARJ) at SVRI Forum 2022

Updated: Jan 5, 2023

How to address reproductive coercion as an explicit, integral part of mental health support

Grounded in a reproductive justice (RJ) approach, Iris Group Senior Fellow Anne K Eckman explored ways to strengthen capacity to address reproductive coercion and explore the impact on quality of care and healing experienced by SGBV survivors today as part of the Mental Health Interventions session at SVRI Forum 2022, in Cancun, Mexico. Alongside mental health practitioners and co-authors Jayhsree Jani, Erin Callahan and Kimberly Felder she laid out practical steps clinicians can take and questions to ask to identify reproductive coercion and direct those affected to relevant support services through analysis of interactions at a local survivor-serving NGO in Maryland, USA.

Key Findings

Survivors welcomed the naming of previously un-named experiences

Survivors experienced relief and validation upon learning that reproductive coercion (RC) was a form of power and control. This provided language to name experiences they had felt “were not right.”

Complexities include children birthed within RC

Survivors recognized that RC produced some pregnancies. There’s a need to further explore survivors’ “guilt” at naming such violations while caring for children birthed in this context.

Naming discrimination in health care settings matters

Especially survivors of color experienced discrimination in health care institutions, including denial of contraceptive options. Supportive institutions are key for healing.

RC & RJ is a vital arena for healing and reclaiming survivor wellbeing

Exploring RC appears to help survivors and providers identify a previously undervalued dimension of trauma. It helps explore more fully reclaiming reproductive and sexual health wellbeing as an integral dimension of survivor healing.

For the full presentation, click here.

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